Overview of a Movie Review

Along with book reviews and article critiques, movie reviews are some of the most common assignments in college.

Note that the term “movie review” is often used synonymously with “essay on a movie”.

Besides the broad skills required when writing an essay, movie reviews demand addition of distinctive attributes unique to the film review genre.

All this demands expertise on how to write an essay on a movie.

This brings us to the question, “what is a movie review?”

Generally a movie review can be defined as:

“A well-balanced personal opinion synthesis and critical analysis of a film that incorporates the movie’s thematic and technical content.”

Movie reviews encompass creative work and should therefore adopt creative and critical approaches in their writing process.

This requires an understanding of the different attributes that are necessary when it comes to how to write a movie review essay.

The movie review should be about 1000 words in length.


Elements of a Movie Review

Skills on how to write a movie review essay requires that you appreciate the different elements that make film review stand out.

Besides ensuring that you include these elements, excellent approaches on how to write a good movie review require that these elements be clear and elaborate.

The elements to include are as discussed below.


1. Title of the Movie

A good movie review should have the title of the movie clearly highlighted.

Mentioning the title of the movie in the heading is not enough. You have to go beyond this and include it in the main text, usually in the introductory part.

As such, the name of the movie should always be mentioned in the first paragraph of the movie review.

You should avoid making the mistake of assuming that the title of the movie is obvious to the reader.


2. Summary

Also, good skills on how to write a good movie review demand that you include a summary of the movie. This is because the audience might not have watched it yet.

You need to assume that the instructor or professor has not watched the movie.

This assumption is important in ensuring that you do not leave out some of the movie’s key details.

The summary should explain what occurred in the movie.


3. Filmmaker

It is important to include details about the filmmaker in your movie review.

Such details should be covered in a paragraph or two.

It should cover the director’s other works with the intention of determining the significance of the movie being reviewed on the director’s career.

Questions on the filmmaker to ask when writing the review include:

1. Is the director a controversial person?

2. Does the director have a unique background?

3. Does the director have a particular political stance?


4. Significance

When it comes to how to write a movie review, you have to consider the significance of the movie to your class.

Some of the questions to ask on this include?

1. How does the movie’s content fit into your course topic?

2. Is the movie important for historical accuracy?


If the movie is based on a course book, you could identify differences, similarities, or elements in the movie not found in the book.

On the other hand, if the movie has a historical significance, you could identify incidences of over-dramatization if present.


5. Creative Elements

There should be an examination of the importance of creative elements on the movie and its plot.

The creative elements could range widely as indicated by examples below:

1. Symbolism: symbols in the movie could play an important role in enhancing creativity and conveying the message. Symbols should be noted if present.

2. Colors: they could be vivid and therefore lift the movie’s mood and atmosphere or could be dull and consequently make the movie depressing.

3. Costumes: they can enhance the movie or fail its intent.

4. Sound effects: Good sound effects make the viewing more captivating while poor ones make the movie irritating.

5. Camera movements: Camera movements and angles add important elements to the movie.


6. Actors

Good approaches on how to write a movie review demand that you explore the characters in the movie.

Questions to ask on the actors include:

1. Are the actors realistic?

2. Was the role of a particular character portrayed accurately?

3. Do the actors have good acting skills?

4. Is a particular actor the right fit for the role they played?



Outline of a Movie Review

One of the most important tools when it comes to how to write a movie essay is a good outline.

The outline encompasses the movie review format to be observed when compiling the different parts of the review.

Such an outline encompasses:


1. Introduction

This is the first paragraph in a movie review format for students. It comprises important information like:

1. The title of the movie,

2. Movie’s release date, and

3. Background information on the movie.


This is one of the most important parts of a movie review and it should capture the reader’s attention.


2. Summary of the Story

The summary of the story entails a succinct sum-up of what is going on in the movie. You should in one paragraph or two review the key events, activities, or scenes in the movie.

It is important to narrate activities as they occur in the movie without going into their merits or demerits on the movie.

Analysis is usually done in the subsequent paragraphs/ sections.


3. Analysis of Plot Elements

This is considered the meat of the film review. It is arguably one of the sections to invest adequate time on when it comes to how to write a movie review.

Some of the key areas to explore when analyzing the plot elements include:

1. Rising action and

2. Climax


4. Creative Elements

Creative elements need to be meticulously analyzed. For this reason, the creative elements section has to be conspicuous as a key part of the movie review format.

This section should usually take the largest part of a movie review essay. It should be two or more paragraphs depending on the length of the essay.

Some of the creative elements to explore include:

1. Characters

2. Dialogues

3. Camera techniques

4. Use of colors

5. Symbols

6. Tone

7. Mood

8. Costumes


5. Opinion

This encompasses your view about the movie. You should in one paragraph express how you feel about the movie.

The opinion should be critical in nature and should be supported with facts and examples from the movie.


6. Conclusion

This should feature as the last part in the movie review format for students.

It should be a recap of your evidence on the success or failure of the director in fulfilling the movie’s purpose.

You should also explain the effectiveness of the movie in expounding the course topic.


Steps on How to Write a Movie Review

Steps on how to write a movie review are closely similar to those taken when writing a book review.

They include:


1. Watching the Movie

Watching the movie is mandatory. When possible, watch it twice.

You should avoid relying on summaries and reviews by other people that are particularly available on the web.

It is advisable to take notes while watching the movie for easier future reference of your thoughts and reactions.


2. Conducting Research

This is a very important step when it comes to how to write a movie review.

You should conduct extensive research on areas such as:

1. Name of the filmmaker

2. Motivation behind making the movie/ film

3. Locations the movie/ film was shot

4. The plot

5. Characters in the film

6. Historic events that inspired the movie/ film


3. Developing an Outline

This entails coming with a movie outline like the one illustrated above.

It is an important step as it lays the foundation for your analysis.

When developing the outline, you should look for the appropriate information relevant to the different parts/ sections of the movie outline.

Content in this step should be in the points form.

Importantly, include examples.


4. Writing the Movie Review

This step is very critical and demands excellent skills on how to write a movie review.

It entails a detailed analysis of the movie, where all the information in the outline is organized in a coherent manner.

Relevant information should be aligned with the provided examples from the movie to create a smooth narrative.

Areas to focus on in this step could include:

1. Explaining plot holes

2. Analyzing poor character development

3. Scrutinizing poor casting


Note that you must provide evidence to support your analysis. Such evidence includes examples form the movie.

Other areas to provide examples on are:

1. Plot

2. Dialogs

3. Locations


5. Proofreading the Work

This is the last step when it comes to how to write a movie review essay.

It requires you to go through the film review and find out whether all the relevant areas as provided in the movie review outline have been effectively addressed.

As well, in this step you should ensure that the movie review essay is coherent and all grammatical errors have been eliminated.

It is prudent to go through the movie review for at least two times.